Sunday, January 08, 2006


Celtic 'IRA chant video may be fake'

An interesting story from the Sunday Herald reports that a film showing two of its players taking part in a drunken sing-song was overdubbed with sectarian chants.

The Sunday Herald understands that the club have had footage of striker John Hartson and winger Stephen Pearson analysed and believe that the clip was doctored to include shouts of "IRA!" and "Sinn Fein!"

Many people have reacted with fury to the clip which appeared to show support for the IRA during pauses in a rendition of the club anthem, The Fields Of Athenry.

But last night sources revealed that the club had received word that the footage, which first came to light after it was posted on football supporters’ websites last week, had the sectarian shouts added later.

The sources also said that the club believed that the copy was "not of a high quality".

The incident happened at a testimonial party in Donegal in Ireland for former Celtic captain Jackie McNamara. Hundreds of fans turned up alongside players and backroom staff at the four-star Clanree Hotel in April to pay tribute to the Scotland star.

In the grainy film clip, taken on a mobile video phone, Pearson is seen joining in with the Irish folk tune as revellers in the background shout sectarian slogans during pauses in the song. Hartson, wearing a black striped shirt, is also shown on the film hugging fans and bouncing around. Both players have admitted singing along to the terraces’ favourite, but have strongly denied any IRA shouts.

Last night a source suggested that it was easy to doctor film clips. He said: "You can buy software for around £30 that can allow you to manipulate sound and images on video phones. It does not take much technical expertise to overdub sound on these things."

A Celtic spokesman would only say that the club had launched an inquiry into the possibility that the players had been involved in the anti-sectarian shouts. A spokesman said: "We are investigating various aspects of this. I am not in a position to comment further."

Patrick Sweeney, who organised the function, said: "The players were a credit to Celtic football club that night. I don’t recall IRA chants."

Both the players’ agents have rejected any claims of wrongdoing.

Yesterday Celtic also said that any suggestion their players had taken part in sectarian behaviour was "utterly laughable".

The spokesman added: "The club and players are both considering their legal options. Both players freely admit they joined in the singing of The Fields of Athenry, a well-known and popular Irish folk song, at a supporters’ event in Ireland. But they absolutely did not join in any sectarian chanting."

Well, well, well! Isn't this an interesting turn up for the books?

People have today come onto United Irelander and presumed these Celtic players guilty.

Well what have you to say for yourselves now?


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